Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fitness Part 2: How to get the best out of my workout

Before you start thinking that you should start hitting hard at the gym and work out everyday, know that "too much of a good thing" isn't that good after all. The most important thing when planning your workout routine is to make sure that it is sustainable and you get to progress. 

Things will not happen overnight, it does takes efforts but your body also need to rest for it to recover and function properly. Have you heard about supercompensation? This is an explanation on:

(1) why are you making progress but super slow
(2) why are you making negative progress (losing mass) 
(3) why are you hitting a plateau (no progress)

and of course this chart might just explains many other questions in mind regarding your training.

So this is a supercompensation chart. I will explain it graph by graph, top to bottom, but of course you can always do more research to know more about this.

In sports science theory, supercompensation is the post training period during which the trained function/parameter has a higher performance capacity than it did prior to the training period.

In the first graph, you work out 3 times a week, with a day or 2 rest in between. However when you don't hit hard enough to break the muscles tissues and you take too long rest, you only have little gains. Supercompensation positive but it will be very slow. Don't be afraid to increase weights/reps when you need to.

The second graph is what we seek for, a nice Supercompensation positive. For example workout 5 days a week with variations in intensity. Challenge yourself with higher reps/weights. This is where I encourage working out different body parts on different days so they would have sufficient rest. This sufficient rest is where the muscles grow and recover to be stronger (that explains an upward chart).

In Supercompensation negative, you hit too hard and didn't get to recover enough. This happens when you workout the same muscles everyday. Even before the muscles recover and grow, you are adding additional burden. If you get enough nutrients, you might get a slow supercompensation positive (1st graph), else you will break your muscles and kept burning off your muscle mass.

Supercompensation positive acummulated is when you hit an intense routine and let you muscles recover. This usually happens during heavy power lifting. This requires mental and physical strength. This is because you are giving you muscles massive stress and the recovery might be lengthy but you will achieve great strength.

In the last graph, Supercompensation null, you hit plateau. It is almost like the first graph. You train less and have long recovery. This also happens when you keep doing the same routines, same reps, same weight. You muscles has adapt to that similar strength and they are not growing much rapidly. Change up your routines once you find it not challenging anymore.

So it is totally fine if your workout wasn't as intense as plan, or you missed a day or two of your routine. As long as you pick it back up when you have recovered, you will be able to do more and get stronger.



My explaination could be terrible, but you can read these to have a clearer view:

The summary is:
So everytime you train, you will be giving you muscles a stress called stimulus. You need the right reps and weights (training intensity) and your compensation (recovery time) has to be sufficient. This is the only way you could maximize your training to achieve your goal. 

It simply isn't just "lift heavier", "run longer" or "workout everyday".


This video is also very helpful!



Muscle memory

There is a thing called "muscle memory". According to wikipedia, muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition.

Muscle memory has been used to describe the observation that various muscle-related tasks seem to be easier to perform after previous practice, even if the task has not been performed for a while. It is as if the muscles “remember”.

Muscle memory is real. So even if you missed your diet and workout for a month, as long as you get back to you routine, you will be able to gain those muscles back in a shorter time.

Here are 2 great articles I got on "muscle memory":

So please don't have a mindset that you will have kids, get old and it is impossible to get fit. If you start early, it will be easier for your muscles to adapt. However age is just a number so even if you start late, it is still possible!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fitness Part 1: What's good to know before you start

Not two bodies are exactly identical, and not everyone has similar fitness goals in mind. I wouldn't call it body goal, it relates to body shaming? This is just for people who really wants to make a change, start doing something and be determined towards it. 

Even though I did start off with randomly following Youtube videos and just having the mind set that eat less or eat clean equals slim lean body, that is not always the case.

I realised there are 2 main things to determine before you start in order for it to be effective.


1. Body Types

It is important to know your body type before you set your workout goals and diet type. Some people call this genetics. I was born Ectomorph, having difficulty gaining weight. I always look skinny even though having high body fat %. This is very unhealthy. If you think you are thin/slim and will have no health issues, do find out about "skinny fat". So some of you might be having body issues, and it might not be your fault. Blame genetics? Never feel bad if you have the same amount of food as your friends but you hardly gained or gained too much. Thus it is always important to know where you are, so you wouldn't be following similar diet and workout routines with other body types because they might give very different results.

So the 3 body types are: Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph


Nope, most of us are not that defined 😂

How to know your body type?
Click on this link to know your body time https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/becker3.htm

Honestly I really hate doing cardio. There are people who chase marathon medals, but I have never ran in any. And I am lucky this hate-cardio thing suits my body type.



2. Diet/Calories counting


How many of you have heard about dieting? Dieting has always been a misunderstood term. Diet does not mean that you starve yourself. I have heard it way too many time from people who are trying to loose weight. Diet can be eating more than your usual because you are underweight, your daily routines take lots of energy or you are on a recovery. Diet doesn't always mean eating less.

Based on your body types above and based on your goal, there are again 3 common types of diet or calories counting.

Deficit - you eat less than you burn (lost weight)
Maintenance - you eat as much as you burn (maintain weight)
Surplus - you eat more than you burn (gain weight)




If you choose to eat a cleaner diet, it would be a wiser choice to count your macro/nutrients instead of just calories (since calories can be fulfilled even with junks).

Macro consists of 3 main nutrient group which is Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat. These 3 groups should make up a 100% and the percentage can be adjusted based on your own goals. Since I would like to build muscles, I am going for a 45c/35p/20f (despite always exceeding my fat, I am thankful for my Ectomorph body). A common one would be 50c/30p/20f.


One popular and free calculator is the If-it-fits-your-macro IIFYM website:
https://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/
https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/your-complete-guide-to-iifym

Else you could also use the Total-daily-energy-expenditure TDEE:
https://www.iifym.com/tdee-calculator/
The TDEE calculator is more beneficial more those who wants to loose weight/fat as it includes all the activities in your day like eating and sleeping.
Subtract or add 15-20% of your TDEE calories based on your goal.

If you would like to use an app to track, there are all kinds of mobile apps. I am using the "myfitnesspal". However I am not an avid user. I hate tracking my food to the very last grams. And since I usually eat out it is not easy. I just make sure I know which food are high carb, which are high protein or which are high fat. Then I will just estimate. You can always try, maybe it will be a habit that you will enjoy.


After determining the above two, determine:
Where are you now? Overweight? Underweight? 
And what is your goal? Do you want to lose or gain weight?
Just want to be healthy? What to be stronger?
 Do you want a lean, curvy or muscular body?

I will cover the workout types for different body goals in my next post.
- which should you be doing: cardio? weights? targeted workouts?
-supercompensation theory: importance of recovery


Will explain this chart in my next post


p/s: I managed 3 unassisted pull ups!
It's really an achievement because I couldn't even play the monkey bar before this

I have also tested the saying of "abs are made in the kitchen" and "you can't out exercise a bad diet". While these aren't all true, yes you can achieve low fat percentage but your workout routine could be quite torturous. I would prefer to do both in moderation instead of neglecting your food and workout like a mad man. Usually such doing is not practical in long term (remember that new year resolution which lasted for a month? or just a week?) and you will soon lost you motivation to workout. Do it both in moderation and it will be a more consistent sustainable journey.


My fitness journey

Due to some recent questions regarding fitness, and the trend of people starting to get into fitness, I would like to share on what I did for approximately a year now to achieve my goal. I am not a fitness trainer, nor am I any expert in nutrition or health. These are just based on my personal goals, real experiences.

So I had been thin my whole life (skinny fat without knowing) and I thought I am able to eat but not gain weight, which I eventually did, and kinda plumped up (had difficulty walking) though I was not actually obese.

I been through the eat all you want and kinda starve myself phases, I am quite an experimental person so I wanted to know how my body reacted to different conditions. My fitness journey started when I was feeling really ill during a short hiking trip and had to exit via the emergency route. I have always thought thin/slim equals fit. That was the period when I ate junk food thinking I will never be fat. After that I had difficulty walking. For the first time in my life, my thighs were rubbing against each other, and I had rashes. I had pants I could zip up and I had flaps on my tummy. Also during this time, I have never hit the gym. I probably did cardio, run 3-5km on the treadmill, only once a month.

That was the point when I realised things weren't right. I started working out following aerobics / HIIT videos on Youtube. I started doing just the warmup sets and already felt myself panting. I didn't actually reduce my food, but I was determined to shred that fat through HIIT and cardio. For 3-4 months, I ran 3km thrice and week and did body weights exercises on other days. Miraculously I did lost most of my fats.

After that I found out about BBG (Bikini Body Guide) by Kayla Itsines. It is an intensive body weight/ light weights workouts. I did it for 4 weeks, before I felt that it was too intense (I was always out of breath) and I was getting too thin. When I did BBG, I ate very clean and was on a deficit diet (will talk about this in my next post). I lost my flaps, but I lost the curves, I became so flat. Some people want this type of lean body (check Kayla's). If you want to get abs, it is possible with BBG. Afterall abs is just low body fat.

After getting lean, I felt that I hit a plateau and was feeling weak with my diet. Many have said that BBG nutrition is not probably the best, which I now agree. Now that I know my body is capable to actually burn fat and built abs through these body weights exercises, I wanted to push it further.

My goal quickly changed to getting curvier, more muscles definition. One thing is that muscles need to be fed. I did not want to be lean, so I need to eat more, which is eating calorie surplus (also in next post).I started working out with weights, lifting heavier. I saw my arms and legs grow. As I have mentioned earlier, this might not be your goal as some people find these growths less feminine. During this time, I lost my abs as I surplus my daily calorie counts. The 2kg fat which I lost during cardio is not gained back as 2kg muscles.

I did not start heavy, in fact I still am not doing heavy because I always go to the gym alone, no support/spotter. I am worried that I will injure myself so I start light and slowly bring in more weights. Know your body well. Which parts are prone to injury and which parts felt unwell, workouts variations are not restricted to people. Choose what fits your goal and body best!

It has been quite a journey and I am now looking forward to more muscles definition once I am able to properly count my macro nutrients and having regular workouts. This is not a journey of self torture, but always know that your body is capable of doing beyond the limitations of your mind. 


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

170404

Am running some volume realizations (geologists would know), which is going to take like an hour. My supervisor is too busy to review my work, I rescheduled our meeting for the third time.
So I shall use this time to write a little! I hate doing nothing, if only I can gym right now, bake a cake, clean the house or something 😂

Being an avid traveler, I was frequently asked where will my next destination be? Especially when there are flights promotion or travel fair. I used to have a destination booked and look forward to. However this year I decided to tone down. Reason being, I now own a car and a house, and those a big commitments, especially the house. I thought I would never be that person who would settle, but I guess one fine day I will. That said, I have no travel plan this year, but I am looking forward to Germany/Europe for my little brother's graduation next year.

It feels great somehow that I am settled in, seeing money piling up in my bank rather than calculating my travel expenses and thinking on where to save while traveling 😂. Hey savings matter. Seeing the amount growing is a happiness too! 😃

On a side note, I had been asked whether I am a trainer, or whether I am training for a competition. I am into fitness, which I would probably share in another post. I have experimented a lot for the past 1 year. From cardio to body weights and now lifting. "Mind over matter", no I am not training to compete but I love the explore, just as much as exploring places, I like to know how far can I go, how much my body is capable of doing. 

This is when I realized, everyone's journey is different. Some are born into millionaire families, but might live a short life to enjoy the fortune. Some might be a millionaire after half a century, but lives long enough to enjoy the fortune. 

I found that traveling the world was (and still is?) a trend. Younger generations do not want to settle, they want to be on the go, earn to travel. Have you heard of "If traveling is free you will never see me again"? I used to live up to this quote. I still love traveling, I do, but now when I can afford a more comfortable travel rather than backpacking, why not? 😄

Know that not everyone's life is equal. Everyone is unique, your journeys are unique. Set your own goals and chase after your goals at your own pace. Stop comparing with others, the only person you should compare to is your own past. Be better than who you were, then you are already winning the race. One of the day that you outrun yourself, you would already be better than many others!


Ages since I wrote, and I am getting so random 😂 ignore all the vocabs and grammar errors, I don't bother checking 😂

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Back to blogging?

Hey there!
Blogging from the middle of the ocean haha.
I finally have decided that I could probably go back to
blogging and constantly updating my blog.
The reason I am feeling lazy to update is cause I
have been procrastinating and accumulating all
my back dated (travel related especially) posts.
My Melbourne and Japan posts are too lengthy
for my hectic schedule right now.
Probably if I put my heart (and efforts) into it,
they would one day appear Lol.

So back to some updates on what I had been up to these recent months!
I had been attending weddings after weddings~
Well, it is the age to be married eh, late 20's.
Chinese wedding, Indian wedding, Malay wedding...
All of those, superb experience having multi racial friends <3
 
It is approaching the end of the year!
Time flies~ so not in chronological order, here are some updates!


Attended my first fashion show organized by Fashionvalet


Bachelorette trip in Penang!





Attended Punjabi wedding and wore saree for the 2nd time!
First time was also for my other Punjabi friend's wedding last year

 


 So I have been into fitness.
I had been trying different ways.
Back around April-May 2015 I was doing a lot of cardio
because I was at my fattest, weakest & heaviest.
Realizing I had always been skinny fat, but that time
I was gaining lots of unhealthy fats.
I puked during hiking, I felt so tired walking short journeys.
For the first time my thighs were rubbing against each other and I had rashes.
 
So my mission at that time was to lost those unhealthy fats,
with no intention to loose weight as I was already at the borderline.
But there is no such thing as targeted fats lost.
I did cardio anyways, everyday running from 3-5km.
I finally did it!
After that my target was to gain strength, so I did body weight exercises, BBG mostly.
You can Google that, or I'll write on fitness in another post ^^
 
I got a lot more fitter, got my abs!
I can finally say that yes, I had packs on my tummy!
Then I wanted to gain muscles elsewhere (glutes and back)
so I moved on to weights around August this year.

Abs when I did lots of body weight abs exercises. All you need is to eat clean, a mat and 30mins.
Will write a separate post on this easy abs routine with my diet.
Abs are less prominent now that I am bulking
 


So because I want to gain muscles, and I am underweight
My target is to eat enough calories or more than what I need if I workout hard
Seeing some glutes, arms and back gains ^^


Then another bachelorette to Jogja, this time visited Merapi and Pantai Timang!

And October was my birthday month! Blessed~~
 
 
I guess I will be back with more updates after this
Life would get more hectic but that's what keep us going
When life gives you lemon, you make lemonade!
Signing off with a seductive selfie from offshore!

Yes, I am one of those girls who gets to work offshore and
I appreciate this valuable experience much!
Probably a fitness post and one on offshore life soon? ^^

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Japan Budget Stay Review

Just got back from Japan less than 2 weeks ago, now refreshed and ready for new phase. 
Company is undergoing restructuring so I have been assigned to new job title and new boss~

Waiting for new assignment so before that, here's a review for the hostels I stayed in Japan!
Stayed at 5 different places. This is totally my style of traveling, I cover as many places as possible so this Japan trip was quite tiring (waking up by 7am everyday Lol)


Just like my Taiwan and Indonesia trip, I landed and departed from different airports. 
Landed at Haneda Airport (Tokyo) and departed from Kansai Airport (Osaka).

Path: Tokyo >> Fuji >> Nagoya >> Kyoto >> Osaka

All bookings are made prior to the trip at Booking.com. Since we traveled during Sakura season end of March to early April (super peak!) the bookings were made at least a month before travel dates, some up to 3 months.

These days I use booking.com and airbnb.com mostly for my accommodation bookings. However I make sure to read on the reviews. For booking.com I usually pick review of 8 and above. Read the reviews on location and accessibility.

All dorms we stayed in Japan has privacy with curtains, all beds have private sockets and head lamps (unless mentioned otherwise below).



1. Tokyo - Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule

Address: 160-0021, Tokyo, Shinjuku Ward, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-2-5
Cost: 4500Yen/night

Comment: I really wanted to try capsules because it started in Japan and is really popular among Japanese. However most capsule hotels are only for men. When I saw this with male and female option, I booked it right away even though it was on the pricier end and is indeed the most expensive accommodation of all the ones we stayed in Japan. We finally realized why is it usually only opened for men. Though the female washroom was perfectly normal, despite it being tedious, the men washroom was quite a culture shock, according to my guy colleague. So here is the procedure you need to do everyday despite staying for a few nights. First, put your shoes in the shoes locker (limited to 1 pair), bring the locker key to the reception, check-in (pay your fee), in exchange for your shoes locker key, you will get another bigger locker key (but not big enough for your bag). This other locker contains pajamas, towels and bedroom slippers. There will be racks where you can place your luggage. The washroom is fully equip with toiletries (from those for your face, body, hair etc), everything Shiseido! For ladies the toilets and showers are private and there is a make up room. There was a single floor for ladies. However for men, you shower openly, like naked open, which is normal in Japanese culture especially at hot springs. No worries, toiletries are still complete Lol. The capsules are quite scacious with personal TV, mirror, alarm clock, radio, lamps, sockets, ventilations and bedding was very comfortable. The only downside was the cover is just a piece of mat, which was noisy when people were moving around during bedtime. Overall it was a nice experience but clearing my locker and checking out everyday was quite tiring.

Verdict:


credit: https://iseek4edmund.wordpress.com
Shinjuku Kuyakusho mae's Entrance



2. Fuji - Den's Inn

Address: 401-0304 Yamanashi, Fujikawaguchiko, Kawaguchi 2853-1, Japan
Cost: 3788Yen/night

Comment: The location is perfect and the 4 beds room with balcony is really spacious. The shower is complete with shower cream and shampoo, nice and spacious washroom. Both just right outside the room. The cafe is really cozy, where you get to use the utensils and cook your own meal at the kitchen. Breakfast of toast (jam and butter) with choice of coffee or tea can be ordered at 300Yen per set. When we were there, it rained half of the day and we stayed in enjoying breakfast looking out the glass panel windows. This is exactly why I always enjoy countryside better than the city. There was no buildings to look at but just trees and the mist covering the hilly scenery in a distance, bu the rain drops and chilly weather with hot tea/coffee just give a sense of tranquility. Den's Inn is walking distance to Kawaguchiko and nearest bus station is just next to the inn. Desktop computers can be accessed easily for free.

Verdict:


Den's Inn Entrance


3. Nagoya - Glocal Nagoya Backpackers

Address: 453-0014 Aichi, Nagoya, Nakamura-ku Noritake 1-21-3, Japan
Cost: 3240Yen/night

Comment: Unlike most hostels which are very difficult to locate, usually among shoplots or housing areas, Glocal Nagoya Backpackers can be easily seen with big signboard and probably the only backpacker and a place with huge signboard around the corner. I was amazed with the ambiance of the hostel with a very nicely set up bar and lobby. There is a common room where you can use your own computers, lots of sockets provided. Fridge, microwave and cooking utensils available. It's also next to the laundry so it's super convenient. However toilets are only located on the 3rd and 2nd floor (females only)

Verdict:


credit: hosteljp.com
Glocal Nagoya Backpackers Entrance


4. Kyoto - Kyoto Hostel Ryokan

Address: 601-8031 Kyoto, Kyoto, Minami-ku Higashikujo Kawabecho 23-10, Japan
Cost: 3800Yen/night

Comment: This hostel is located in a very peaceful housing area, 24hours mart just around the corner. Room with high security! Need passwords to enter the room and also the back door. The receptionists are mostly students or on working holiday visa so are not Japanese but they speak fluent Japanese. You can always communicate in their mother tongue which can be English, Mandarin and even Korean. Initially we didn't know there is a nearer train station because it was not written in the site. We walked all the way from Kyoto station which is super far FOL. Only at the guest house we were told about Jujo subway station which is just 400m away, or less. Bus station is quite far so I think the subway pass is the best, can access Gion and Arashiyama as well using subway. Fushimi inari is a walking distance if you don't mind walking*. 

Verdict:


credit: agoda.com
Kyoto Hostel Ryokan Entrance


5. Osaka - Guesthouse Sunanoshiro

Address: 530-0041 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita-ku Tenjinbashi 1-12-19
Cost: 3000Yen/night

Comment: Take note that the reception is not 24hours so do inform in advance if you are arriving during odd hours (besides the regular 3pm check-in, 11am check-out time). The bedroom is spacious, though the top bunk was squeaky at slight movements. I stayed for 1 night but the girl above my bunk was snoring so loudly so I was on my earphones and Spotify the whole night. They should really do surveys for dorm beds to check for people who snore. There are only 2 rooms, the mix dorm and female dorm, which are actually facing each other on the 2nd floor. The 2 washrooms and 2 toilets are all on the 1st floor, with the pantry and reception. The stairs and steps are quite narrow, so be careful should you have big luggage or long feet. Everything else is decent as it was the cheapest accommodation for our trip. The location is nice! Very close to Tenjinbashi food street and 24hours market just next to the train station.

Verdict:

credit: priceline.com
Guesthouse Sunanoshiro Entrance


*Everytime we asked ask for direction, the Japanese will tell us it's near and you can walk. And their definition of near is probably ~2km T_____T because they are so used to walking, which I really respect and salute them for. No wonder they are all so healthy and slim, even the elders still walk around using walking sticks and taking the subways.

Will blog about the itinerary soon!
Pardon me as I just spoiled my laptop and it's almost impossible to blog at work ^__^

For more information, feel free to email me at meilinxo@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The sky is not the limit

I apologize for the lack of dedication.

I've got 2 backdated travel posts

 Melbourne, Australia (which I've drafted till Day 3)


and my first solo trip to Vietnam



I promised I'll update on my Aussie and Vietnam budget trip posts soon!

2 years ago I bought return ticket to Japan but I didn't make it due to work commitment.

Wasted the tickets and still had to work my ass off T_____T

I had been wanting to visit Japan ever since my trip to South Korea in 2011.

After 5 years dreaming of Japan, I am finally going tomorrow!!

And yes! I purposely chose the Sakura season.

If I can only visit Japan once, it will be for the sakura :)



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Explore Java on shoestring

p/s: Hover on coloured words, I've put some links on them for more information! :)
And I'm still drafting my Melbourne post *^^*

Just got back for a short 6 days trip to Java Island, managed to cover Jakarta-Bandung-Yogyakarta.

Java Island trip was one which I really wanted to do. Bought flights 2 years back but had to cancel the plan due to some circumstances, and this time I bought the flights less than a month from the travel dates! Flights were cheap so took advantage of the Independence day holiday.

Travel dates: 29 August 2015 - 3 September 2015
Traveled with 3 companions.

Flights' fares (AIRASIA)
Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta: RM147.00 ea
Yogyakarta to Kuala Lumpur: RM197.41 ea

Both flights exclude baggage. 
We went on backpack so each of our baggage were less than 10kg. 
We  took 40kg and shared baggage fares.

Trains' fares (booked online at tiket.com)
Jakarta to Bandung: RM29.89 ea
Bandung to Yogyakarta: RM70.73 ea

3hours ride from Jakarta to Bandung on Argo Parahyangan train. Departs from Jakarta Gambir Station and arrival at Bandung station (take note there are 2 exits- South gate and North gate)



8hours ride from Bandung to Yogyakarta on Lodaya Malam train. Departs from Bandung station and arrival at Yogyakarta station (also having South gate and North gate)



Took executive (air-conditioned) because there wasn't much price difference as we took the lower section of the class. They have economy (lowest class) and Business (mid class) which are both non air-conditioned.

Print and bring the pdf file with the booking number, and print your ticket at the station up to an hour before departure time.


Accommodation
Total fare for accommodation is RM154.76 per person for 5 nights,
breakdown will be shown below. All 3 places we stayed I do recommend.
I pick these through ratings and proximity to places we wanna go. 
Do check out the reviews before making your booking.


Expenses (Food+shopping+transports+entrance fees+2 mobile cards with Internet etc.): RM965.24
Approximately Rp.3,689,000.


For list of Indonesia's delicacies, can be viewed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indonesian_dishes

In Indonesia, beware of scammers and conman, they are everywhere. There is no such thing as queue and Indonesian time is like Malaysian time, I don't mean time difference. When you say 8AM, it's 8.15AM, or 8.30AM =.=


TOTAL TRIP EXPENSE (for me): approx. RM1565.00
(without shopping, approx. RM1200.00 Jakarta-Bandung-Yogyakarta)
The only difference of expense between us was shopping expenses



JAKARTA

29 August 2015
Landed in Jakarta Airport late afternoon, took taxi from the airport to the hotel. Rp150,000 per taxi for a 30mins ride, which is approximately RM50 (KL's price). Checked-in Citi M Hotel (booking.com). Cost: RM50/night per person (twin room), stayed 1 night.

Upon arrival in Jakarta, we went for late lunch! Stopped by at D'Stupid Baker, which is one of the franchise of D'Stupid outlets in Jakarta. It's a walking distance from Citi M Hotel. Ate, talked then went back to our hotel to clean up.

 


My Indonesian friend, Vandani brought us out for dinner! 
V and her bf took us to eat Nasi Uduk which is Jakarta's signature dish 
at one of her favourite place. 




After dinner, we went to MONAS (Monument Nasional) 
but it was closed so we only view from outside (made plan to visit again on the next day). 



Ate Kerak Telor, another Jakarta's dish. Ate on the mat, picnic style, 
which is an Indonesian tradition. 



Ate on the floor, on a mat like Indonesians :)


V then brought us to oldtown. Traffic in Jakarta is really bad, and there was coincidentally a festival at old town "Kota Tua", which is Jakarta's downtown with Dutch former building and Wayang kulit museum with some fancy vintage cafes. We got down anyways and walked among the crowds!





30 August 2015
Early in the morning, we went to MONAS. MONAS opens at 8AM so V gave us tips to arrive there before 8AM and queue for the viewing tower first instead of going around the museum. Plus it was a Saturday. So we arrived there at 750AM just by foot (it's walking distance from out hotel!).




Had problem finding the entrance, try finding an LED signboard. And apparently there is no such thing as queue in Indonesia. When the gate opened, whole group of people just rushed in.


We also rushed to the "Puncak" (means top) ticketing counter as fast as we can. Even right at the counter, with the barrier, there was no such thing as queuing. But since we were fast, got tickets in 15mins and rushed to the "Puncak" and "Cawan" queue for the lift to the top.

Ticketing with no queue =.=

View from "Puncak"


At "Puncak"


Do not spend time at the museum first because when we got down, the queue for the lift was so long. Queue for the lift while there are still not many people. MONAS ticket price to "Puncak" and "cawan" is Rp5,000 ea. We didn't know there is a foreigner price of Rp10,000, guess I passed with my Indonesian slang. More info on MONAS: http://www.museumnasional.or.id/.

Museum, you'll notice group of people sitting around. 
It was a Saturday so there were many school kids


At "Cawan" (base of the Tugu)


Scam 1: After MONAS, we took the public transport "Bajai" to Tanah Abang. I read that it cost Rp25,000 to Rp30,000 max so we agreed on Rp30,000. However when we arrived at our destination and wanted to pay RP30,000, he said it is Rp30,000 each! Which makes it Rp120,000. It was our first time on "banjai" or any public transport in Indonesia. Got so confused and the driver showed his poker face. We were still not use to the currency so just paid Rp120,000. At Tanah Abang Block A, while some friends shop for textile we asked for the actual price, the salesman said Rp25,000 should be the maximum T_____T We realized we got scammed. All got so angry, lessen learnt the expensive way. Tanah Abang is cheap for textile shopping, but you'll need good bargaining skills and lots of time to look around. From Tanah Abang to hotel, we managed to agreed on Rp30,000 for the "banjai", which I insisted even when he wanted Rp50,000. And we make sure to confirm that it's for the whole "bajai", not per person T___T. If it's more expensive, I'd rather take the expensive but more comfortable taxi.

On the "bajai" which we got scammed. 
That time still smile so happily because thought we 
got a good offer for Rp.30,000 for whole "bajai" FOL

At Jakarta's train station, I find it very convenient that there are machines which allow us to print our tickets based on the online booking number. On the tickets, there are barcode which they used for scanning during entry. This system is like the airline service which we yet to have in Malaysia. While waiting for our train to Bandung, we ate Bakmie! Not sure whether we are too hungry but it was really delicious!

Departed Jakarta station to Bandung at 12.45PM.



BANDUNG

30 August 2015
Arrived in Bandung train terminal at 3.47PM, checked in Eleanor's Home (homestay concept, booking.com). Cost: RM22.5/night per person (twin room), stayed 1 night. Traveled from train station to our homestay using Uber.


After checking in, we went to Rumah Mode! It is just walking distance from Eleanor's Home. Spend all evening at Rumah Mode, then dinner at Batagor Kingsley to eat batagor of course. They serve all the dishes and if you don't wanna eat it, just leave it untouched then they won't calculate those untouched dishes in your bill.

Rumah Mode, read as "Mo-de"

Dinner at Batagor Kingsley

In Bandung we decided to use Uber for all of our trips after the scam in Jakarta. Made our way to Paris Van Java, things are expensive here, not factory outlet it's more like a mall. However we just chilled, Bandung's weather is very nice and enjoyed the nice lighting. Bought crepe and celebrated Malaysia's Independence at the living room of our hostel :)


31 August 2015
Booked a car (Avanza) with driver and fuel for half a day, cost Rp.550,000. Made our way to Kawah Putih at 730AM. Due to peak hour, traffic was quite bad. We initially booked for 6AM but the driver arrived late. Make sure your driver is trustworthy and punctual else it will be your lost. Arrived Kawah Putih after 3 hours ride, spent almost 2 hours there.


Criminals look because of sulfur so had to wear mask 



*Please do not attempt, I failed anyways*



Loving the view! And weather in Bandung is perfect!

After that went to Patenggang Lake. There is a stall selling fried toufu, banana fritters and other deep fried snacks near the parking, really yummy we bought more on our way back!

Tea plantation on the way to the lake

The lake has paddle boats and sampan rental where 
you can hire guide to bring you to the other side of the lake


Since we need to be in Bandung city before 3PM, we made our way back right after. Stopped at Warung Cepot for Sunda food.



After lunch, we went back to get our baggage. (checked-out early in the morning before going to Kawah Putih, stored baggage at the reception). Wanted to go Rumah Mode again but we were short on time and it was approaching traffic peak hours. So we went straight to the train station. Walked to Kartikasari to get some brownies and had ice cream!



Scam 2: I guess we were also scammed in Bandung T___T Rp.550,000 is standard for car rental in Java Island but we realized that the fuel wasn't use even half tank. We agreed with the driver that the car rental is Rp.300,00 with driver. However he filled full tank Rp.250,000 for less than 12 hours ride, which we think is a scam because it could be just Rp.150,000 or less and he filled without asking us first.

Make a deal with your driver and make sure there is no change in deal after agreed. And, pay everything only at the end of trip/rental.

Departed Bandung station to Yogyakarta at 6.55PM. 8 hours ride wasn't as bad as flight's because the seat was quite comfy, big leg space and they even provided nice smelling blanket! What I love about trains, unlike plane rides, we get to walk around, no such thing as seat belt signs etc.





YOGYAKARTA

1 September 2015
Arrived in Yogyakarta at 2.58AM. Be careful of taxi scams at Yogya station. Price written was Rp.50,000 in town but they charged us Rp.70,000 (yes! even when the price was obviously written on the board!).



We insisted on Rp.50,000 so they gave in. Our hostel is just 4km away! (Make sure you know the distance so you won't get scammed, they actually told us Ostic's is outskirt Yogya city, which is not!) Anyways, checked-in Ostic's House (booking.com). Cost: RM27.42/night per person (8beds dorm), stayed 3 nights.

Ostic's House is one of the best hostels I've ever stayed in, huge beds and very clean. They even make up the bed everyday, which is veryyy rare for hostels. The staff will assist you on anything and they are super friendly. This one is highly recommended. Stay in a mix dorm with 8-beds and still comfortable.

Guide from Ostic's House!

After the 8hours long train ride and arriving in wee hours, we slept in till 9AM. We then went on to explore the famous Malioboro Street! This time, we went around Yogya (also called Jogja by locals) in scooter. It was the best choice we made after all the scams. Rented from Osctic's House at Rp.60,000/day each. Full tank fuel is approximately Rp.20,000. Shopped around Malioboro, it's THE place to get souvenirs.


Ate lunch at Gudeg Yu Djum for Yogyakarta's gudeg at Malioboro street. 



Put our purchase back to our hostel and prepared for almost an hour ride to Parangtritis Beach! The highlight of the trip was ATV ride among the sand dunes! It was awesome (plus much cheaper than Malaysia) with the sunset. I think it was Rp.90,000 each so RM15 per person?




Riding ATV! One of the best time in Java! 
The place was nice because we get to go on sand dunes.


Went back after sunset and a friend brought us to dinner at Dowa. It is a shop selling handbags but above it is a restaurant called Honje, so I think it's actually Dowa Honje Restaurant (?) They have their own signatures Nasi Ayam Honje and Nasi Komplit Honje. Honje is actually a type of fragrance flower used in cooking.

Nasi Ayam Honje

Nasi Ayam Komplit

Went to Alun-Alun Kidul (Southern) after dinner where there are lighted tricycles, called "odong-odong" for rental and walked through the 2 trees with a legend of it's own.

"Odong-odong"



Myth said that the "masangin" game, walking between 2 banyan trees shows your life intention. Our friend said that if you have good intention, you will be able to walk straight and what you wish for will come true. However, it is just a myth. It is to show that to get something it is not easy and you will need to work hard, I guess the blindfold/blindness means the challenges?

Us doing the "masangin" game


Right after, we went back and slept, ready for another day in Yogya.
**Take note that all parking is Rp.2,000 for mobil (4 wheels) & Rp.1000-2000 for motor (2 wheels)


2 September 2015
Left hostel around 10AM. Went to Malioboro again to shop for batik at Mirota Batik (now called Hamzah Batik). It is located at the end of Malioboro street, opposite Pasar Beringharjo. This is a must go at Yogya! Batik is really cheap and you can get souvenirs here too!!



Lunch was Fried Chicken Ayam Kalasan at a shop next to Gudeg Yu Djum, cannot remember the name because we were in a rush and just entered the shop >_< But it was nice! And there were 2 other tourists so I guessed it was a recommended place to travelers (?)




Rushed to Prambanan and Ratu Boko to catch sunset! Started our journey to Prambanan at 2PM, arrived in 40minutes. Entrance fee to Prambanan listed below. It was a great time to visit as there were not many people.

Candi Prambanan:

  








 




Ratu Boko is just a short ride away. I guess there are 2 entrances to Ratu Boko. The one we followed on our GPS lead us to one which was already closed, so the security guard lead us to another which is uphill. Ratu Boko is located on top of a hill and sunset was beautiful.

On our way to Ratu Boko, catching sunset! Journey surrounded by paddy fields





 



After sunset we went back to Yogya for Bakso dinner at Bakso Ito (and I just found out Running Man filmed here during episode in Indonesia!) Ordered Bakso Komplit with mixture of boiled and fried meatballs. The coconut drink with syrup is yummy too!



Went back early to rest and prepare for the most awaited trip- Borobudur!

*Java Island was hit by a quake in 2006 so many parts of Prambanan and Borobudur were still under reconstruction.

Tips to save on fees for Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko:
1. Get a combo ticket. Prambanan & Ratu Boko are located near to each other but Borobudur is of opposite direction. All 3 can be visited in a day but will be very rushed. You can choose to see sunrise at Borobudur and sunset at either Prambanan or Ratu Boko.
2. Get 50% student discount for Borobudur, just bring your student card (from anywhere, even if non-Indonesian school/university). Malaysian Kad Siswa works as well. If you can get the 50% discount, go for the Prambanan and Ratu Boko package.


more information: http://borobudurpark.com/



3 September 2015
Our last day in Java Island and yet we took the risk to visit Borobudur on this day. How lucky we are for all 6 days the sun was out and there wasn't a day that it rained. We woke up and departed at 4AM to catch sunrise at Punthuk Setumbu as the Manohara package is way too expensive. Arrived approximately an hour later because there was no traffic. Hike up Setumbu and managed to get a spot. However we are really bad in catching sunrise >__< We went down the hill to be at Borobudur before the sun actually rise, because we thought there was haze and it couldn't be seen. Only when we were halfway down did we saw sunrise among the paddy field and coconut trees T____T









by 530AM it was already crowded


Rode to Borobudur, which was not that far away. But with motorcycle, we can only park outside the Borobudur park. Got our tickets and went in. Security was really strict, we had to go through body scans. I don't remember having to go through all these at Angkor Wat =.= And they have a different entrance for locals and foreigners.

Borobudur was...smaller than I expected, maybe because I have been to Angkot Wat. But the structures are different. The stupas which hold Buddhas were magnificently build and carved. All the details still amazed me. The journey out of Candi Borobudur was what tire us, they made us take a long winding path through countless stalls with persistent sellers.









View on Borobudur was very beautiful, 
that explains why the Manohara sunrise view is so expensive







Departed Borobudur around 930AM. After arriving at our hostel, did some packing and checked-out. Extended our bike rental till 230PM so we went for Soto lunch at Soto Sulung Stasiun Tugu (inside the Tugu train station) which is reviewed as a legendary soto. Took cab for Rp.100,000 to Yogyakarta Adisucipto Airport. Dropped by at Bakpia 25 to buy oleh-oleh Yogyakarta.


The END.



Covered as many as we can for a 6 days trip in Java Island. Too bad we didn't have much time for Bromo and Merapi, and one of the place I would wanna visit which is Surabaya.


Our basic itinerary:
Day 1: Jakarta (MONAS, Kota Tua)
Day 2: Jakarta (MONAS, Tanah Abang) + Bandung (Rumah Mode)
Day 3: Bandung (Kawah Putih, Patenggang Lake, Tea Plantation, Kartikasari)
Day 4: Yogyakarta (Malioboro, Parangtritis Beach, Alun-alun Kidul)
Day 5: Yogyakarta (Malioboro, Candi Prambanan, Candi Ratu Boko)
Day 6: Yogyakarta (Punthuk Setumbu, Candi Borobudur)